Tunnel Vision

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November 5, 2011

To maximize every square inch in this Manhattan apartment, LOT-EK knocked down walls, added dozens of recycled doors, and built in a bevy of secret compartments.

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  By inserting a tunnel made from 36 reclaimed commercial doors and tearing down a handful of walls, LOT-EK and contractor Andreas Scholtz brought light into the formerly unused dark hallway in Maurice Russell (right) and Jorge Fontanez’s apartment. The glossy Safety Red paint by Benjamin Moore catches the light by day but “becomes a richer, darker, very relaxing red at night,” Fontanez says.  Photo by: Nicholas CalcottCourtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott.  All rights reserved.
    By inserting a tunnel made from 36 reclaimed commercial doors and tearing down a handful of walls, LOT-EK and contractor Andreas Scholtz brought light into the formerly unused dark hallway in Maurice Russell (right) and Jorge Fontanez’s apartment. The glossy Safety Red paint by Benjamin Moore catches the light by day but “becomes a richer, darker, very relaxing red at night,” Fontanez says.

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

    Courtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott. All rights reserved.

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  The former dining room is now home to Russell and Fontanez’s custom kitchen, designed by LOT-EK and fabricated by Chef Restaurant Supplies. “We love to entertain,” Russell says. “Before, the galley kitchen was in the hallway; now we can cook and still be a part of the party.” The space-saving setup, which adjoins the living room, features stainless steel–paneled cabinets, DuPont Corian countertops, Onda stools by Jesus Gasca for Stua, and fixtures and appliances by Grohe, Liebherr, and Miele. To maximize space, the designers specified that the cabinets be built around a former fireplace in the kitchen. “Because there’s a bump out where the chimney is, we turned the sink lengthwise,” Lignano says. “The cabinet directly overhead is only four inches deep, so it’s just a huge spice rack.” The island provides ample additional storage.  Photo by: Nicholas CalcottCourtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott.  All rights reserved.
    The former dining room is now home to Russell and Fontanez’s custom kitchen, designed by LOT-EK and fabricated by Chef Restaurant Supplies. “We love to entertain,” Russell says. “Before, the galley kitchen was in the hallway; now we can cook and still be a part of the party.” The space-saving setup, which adjoins the living room, features stainless steel–paneled cabinets, DuPont Corian countertops, Onda stools by Jesus Gasca for Stua, and fixtures and appliances by Grohe, Liebherr, and Miele. To maximize space, the designers specified that the cabinets be built around a former fireplace in the kitchen. “Because there’s a bump out where the chimney is, we turned the sink lengthwise,” Lignano says. “The cabinet directly overhead is only four inches deep, so it’s just a huge spice rack.” The island provides ample additional storage.

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

    Courtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott. All rights reserved.

  • 
  Moving the kitchen out of the hallway and rotating the front door 90 degrees and into the tunnel created a much-needed foyer. “Before, when someone entered, they walked straight into the living room,” Russell says. “The lighting from the staircase would ruin the buzz of the party inside.” The new entrance opens into the narrower of the two corridors, from which individuals can access the storage-and-laundry closet, shower room, and powder room. In the kitchen, a 9.4-cubic-foot, 24-inch Liebherr fridge and freezer is tucked into the wall. “I freaked out when I saw it for the first time because it was so tiny,” Russell says. “But it hasn’t been an issue at all; it was just a mental thing. We’ve learned how oversized our old fridge was.”  Photo by: Nicholas CalcottCourtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott.  All rights reserved.
    Moving the kitchen out of the hallway and rotating the front door 90 degrees and into the tunnel created a much-needed foyer. “Before, when someone entered, they walked straight into the living room,” Russell says. “The lighting from the staircase would ruin the buzz of the party inside.” The new entrance opens into the narrower of the two corridors, from which individuals can access the storage-and-laundry closet, shower room, and powder room. In the kitchen, a 9.4-cubic-foot, 24-inch Liebherr fridge and freezer is tucked into the wall. “I freaked out when I saw it for the first time because it was so tiny,” Russell says. “But it hasn’t been an issue at all; it was just a mental thing. We’ve learned how oversized our old fridge was.”

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

    Courtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott. All rights reserved.

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  Lignano, Tolla, and Scholtz left the ends of the doors unpainted to show off the recycled material.  Photo by: Nicholas Calcott
    Lignano, Tolla, and Scholtz left the ends of the doors unpainted to show off the recycled material.

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

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  The original doorknob cutouts now act as openings for overhead lights  Photo by: Nicholas CalcottCourtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott.  All rights reserved.
    The original doorknob cutouts now act as openings for overhead lights

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

    Courtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott. All rights reserved.

  • 
  The reused doors serve as more than floor, walls, and ceiling; several are still functional. In the dining room, the benches lift up for storage, and doors on either side of the banquette open to reveal closets.  Photo by: Nicholas CalcottCourtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott.  All rights reserved.
    The reused doors serve as more than floor, walls, and ceiling; several are still functional. In the dining room, the benches lift up for storage, and doors on either side of the banquette open to reveal closets.

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

    Courtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott. All rights reserved.

  • 
  Eazy side chairs by Whiteonwhite line one side of the custom-designed table by LOT-EK. Castore suspension lights by Michele De Lucchi for Artemide hang above, and a custom rug by Liora Manné lies below.  Photo by: Nicholas Calcott
    Eazy side chairs by Whiteonwhite line one side of the custom-designed table by LOT-EK. Castore suspension lights by Michele De Lucchi for Artemide hang above, and a custom rug by Liora Manné lies below.

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

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  “Two-bedroom apartments are coveted in Manhattan, but the reality is that we are just two people, and the second bedroom had become neglected storage space,” Fontanez says. Combining the two into one reaped big rewards. “Now we wake up to a row of four windows and a variety of birds singing,” Russell says.  Photo by: Nicholas CalcottCourtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott.  All rights reserved.
    “Two-bedroom apartments are coveted in Manhattan, but the reality is that we are just two people, and the second bedroom had become neglected storage space,” Fontanez says. Combining the two into one reaped big rewards. “Now we wake up to a row of four windows and a variety of birds singing,” Russell says.

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

    Courtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott. All rights reserved.

  • 
  The peaceful space is accented with art, like the watercolor portrait gifted to the couple.  Photo by: Nicholas CalcottCourtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott.  All rights reserved.
    The peaceful space is accented with art, like the watercolor portrait gifted to the couple.

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

    Courtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott. All rights reserved.

  • 
  Fontanez solved LOT-EK’s conundrum of how to situate the bed against the center wall while still maintaining closet access by suggesting an automated dry-cleaning rack in the narrow closet. He and Russell access the closet from opposite ends. “We just have to make sure we don’t spin it at the same time,” Fontanez says.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!   Photo by: Nicholas CalcottCourtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott.  All rights reserved.
    Fontanez solved LOT-EK’s conundrum of how to situate the bed against the center wall while still maintaining closet access by suggesting an automated dry-cleaning rack in the narrow closet. He and Russell access the closet from opposite ends. “We just have to make sure we don’t spin it at the same time,” Fontanez says.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

    Courtesy of: Copyright: 2010 Nicholas Calcott. All rights reserved.

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